March
26
2020

Staying Connected

Greetings First Baptist family and friends,

Thanks to all who joined us for our first learning attempt at Facebook live last Sunday morning. First there was human error on our side (meaning I messed up) trying to run it through my tablet and later connected by switching to my phone.  Then there were connection issues beyond our control.  It is possible the connection issues are related to the high volume of people streaming church services at the same time do to so many going online.  This week we will start our Facebook Live worship experience at 9:00 A.M. to try an avoid that problem.  Facebook does archive it so you can watch at 10:30 A.M., or whenever, by going to our Facebook page.  If You join us at 9:00 A.M. you will be able to send us live chats.  Feel free to share with family and friends or create a Facebook virtual watch party.  Last Sunday 116 watched our video, with 478 people having access to it.

Let me share a quote from Alan Hirsch before I tell you more about plan for this Sunday, March 29th plans.

If you want to learn how to play chess, you should start by removing your own queen. Once you’ve mastered the game without the powerful piece, then put the queen back in and see how good you are! For the church, the Sunday service is our queen. We’ve been relying on it too much. Now that the queen has been taken off the board it’s time to rediscover what all the other pieces can do.

I am hearing many good stories about how our community is staying connected in this time of social distancing. I have heard some reports back from our first round of calls to everyone - that seems to be working well.  A few people have shared with me how they are trying to live out the challenge I gave out last Sunday which was based on Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  It can be hard work to do in troubled times, in times when your world seems much smaller than normal but when we force ourselves to focus on the goodness that comes from God, we more likely to be the ambassadors God’s love and hope we are designed to be.  More love - less fear and the opposite is also true.  Don’t become a new addict, too much news watching makes darkness feel normal.  Soak up God’s beauty, presence, and Word more than you ingest the signs of decay around you.

So, this coming Sunday at 9:00 A.M. (hopefully relatively glitch free) we will share a modified worship experience with you.  It will have music with songs you likely know so you can sing along and make your bird chirp or dog bark in praise, prayer, Scripture reading, some sharing and a message on Mark 9: 30 -50.  Have your Mark journals ready.  I wrestled with what to

teach/preach on and felt God telling me to look at the next text in Mark I was going to preach on.  Wow, God wants me to share some timely truth from this ancient text. Very excited to share what the Spirit of God has been showing me.

If you don’t do Facebook an audio of the message only with be uploaded to our webpage www.hillsborofirst.com.  If you play videos on your computer but don’t do Facebook and would prefer a way to not just hear the message but to also see it let us know and we can set up link to our cloud storage for that.  It would be message only because of copy-write issues with music.

 Several people have asked about giving. Thanks for asking and realizing good ministry takes resources including financial.  Our first concern as church leadership was to make the best decision for our community and then put additional supports in place to help us stay connected, cared for and to advance our discipleship during this disconnected time.  Our financial needs are not going down during this “stay at home” time.  Please send your tithes and offerings to our P.O. Box listed below. If you can give extra during this time it would go a long way to care for others who are struggling now or will be shortly. 

There are opportunities we have never had before to be agents of God’s love and grace.  Who can you pray for, reach out to, connect with?  What can you do to support care efforts in our community?

If you have a concern we might be able to help with, please contact us.  We have people willing to help those in need in our community, at a loving distance.

 Grace, Peace and Undeniable Hope,

 

Pastor Clay

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